The Vanilla Story
What is Vanilla "Vanilla Planifolia"
Origins of Vanilla
Native & wild in tropical forests throughout Mesoamerica.
Vanilla is a tropical climbing orchid and the consumer-ready dark brown vanilla as we know it come from the dried and cured fruits (pods) of the orchid Vanilla planifolia.
There are 3 main types of orchids that produce vanilla.
Vanilla Planifolia (also called vanilla fragans),
Vanilla Planifolia is the original vanilla plant from Mexico but today it is cultivated in Uganda, Madagascar, Indonesia & Papua New Guinea.
Vanilla Planifolia (also referred to as Bourbon vanilla) is the most common type of vanilla produced in the world, first used by Aztec people in Mexico to flavour cocoa and it has over 200 compounds, packed with amazing flavour and aroma complexity, and is considered a delicacy among chefs, bakers, and cosmetics industry manufacturers.
Uganda, “the Pearl of Africa”
Uganda is nicknamed the pearl of Africa, and with good reason, the loamy soil and warm tropical climate make for unique and perfect circumstances to grow the most flavoursome vanilla.
Surrounded by Lake Victoria, the Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga Volcanoes, there is no place more beautiful or better equipped to grow vanilla. In Uganda vanilla is grown mainly by matooke farmers who plant additional trees like Jatropha curcas as the climbing tree for the vanilla vines.
Vanilla grows best under good shed and the matooke banana plantations offer the perfect soil & growing conditions.
Biodiversity & Nature-positive Farming
As originally found in forests wrapped around trees, vanilla is a perennial crop that grows best in a regenerative farming system such as intercropping or agroforestry as the crop needs shade and vine support climbing on stems of different crops like bananas, cocoa or trees.
From 2017, Vanilla planifolia is listed as Endangered under criteria B2ab(iii,v) and has been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Different vanilla species are threatened by habitat reduction and unregulated exploitation for scientific collections and research as some are extracted to be planted in existing vanilla plantations and for hybridisation trials with cultivated individuals.
Natural vanilla, will continue to grow if farmers are part of the value chain with equal benefit opportunities.
Features of Ugandan Vanilla
Gourmet Bourbon Vanilla
Our vanilla beans are regeneratively grown & artisanal cured in Uganda. Ugandan vanilla has a sweet chocolaty taste, and its naturally high level of vanillin, gives it universal application, from baking, ice cream, confectionary and much more.
Grade A Vanilla Beans - hand selected with finest curing process, packed in resealable and airtight pouches for freshness.
These high-quality vanilla pods weigh between 5-7 grams, plump, oily, black/dark brown, 30-35% moist.
Use the whole bean
The whole bean is packed with flavour and can be used. Vanillin is most concentrated within the bean caviar.
Slice the vanilla bean vertically and scrape out the caviar, which you can then add to your dessert, ice cream, or other tasteful creations.
The remaining bean shell still full of flavour, you can dry it to make vanilla powder, mix it with fine sugar to create vanilla sugar or use it to make vanilla-extract.
Ethically sourced & fairly priced
Directly sourced and grown by local farmer partnerships in Uganda. We choose the quickest route from Ugandan farms to Europe.
The vanilla comes from our farm, or from neighbouring farms we collaborate with. No need for countless middlemen.
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